Los Angeles Angels have made moves to build pitching depth

May 17, 2015; Cincinnati, OH, USA; San Francisco Giants relief pitcher Yusmeiro Petit (52) throws against the Cincinnati Reds in the fourth inning at Great American Ball Park. Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports
May 17, 2015; Cincinnati, OH, USA; San Francisco Giants relief pitcher Yusmeiro Petit (52) throws against the Cincinnati Reds in the fourth inning at Great American Ball Park. Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports /

The Los Angeles Angels general manager Billy Eppler has made some moves to fill holes in some positions for the Angels. Not only did Eppler fill some holes in the line-up. We’ll turn the focus to the pitching staff which Eppler also bolstered.

So who are the key pitchers for the Los Angeles Angels that don’t have a set role as of yet.  Let’s take a look at some of them right now.

Last season Billy Eppler was very busy during the season as injuries to the pitching staff mounted.  During the season the Angels combed the waiver wires and plucked a few different arms from the list that paid big dividends and some that will again play key roles this season.  In addition Eppler made a few trades at well during the season that could help the Angels in 2017.

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In the off-season Eppler was even busier making moves to bolster the pitching staff such as acquiring right-handed pitcher Jesse Chavez to possibly be a fifth starter or a long-relief role. Chavez has a career mark of 26-40 with an ERA of 4.54.  He does have 536 strike outs in 604.2 innings pitched, but he also has a 1.38 WHIP.

However last year Chavez split the season between Toronto Blue Jays and Los Angeles Dodgers pitching in 62 innings with a 4.43 ERA with a 2-2 record with a 1.33 WHIP. Chavez will compete for a spot on the Angels staff either as a reliever or a starter. Chavez will most likely not be the 5th starter, but he will probably fill-in if there are any injuries.  If not he will be a long-man in the bullpen.

Austin Adams is another pitcher that Eppler just acquired from the Cleveland Indians. Most of Adams experience has been in the minors until getting called up by the Indians in each of the last three seasons.  In total Adams has pitched in 53 games in the majors for the Indians, all as a reliever. He is 2-0 with a 6.29 ERA in 58.2 innings of work.

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In the minors Adams was much more effective going 32-26 with an ERA of 3.33 striking out 458 batters in 443.2 innings.  The Angels think highly of Adams as they immediately added him to the 40-man roster leaving 2016 surprise Deolis Guerra on waivers to make room for Adams.  Adams is a candidate to be a part of the Angels bullpen depending on his performance this Spring.

Another move that Eppler made was acquiring Ricky Nolasco and Alex Meyer from the Twins at the trade deadline in exchange for pitcher Hector Santiago.  Nolasco pitched pretty well in the two months he pitched for the Angels going 4-6 with a 3.21 ERA.  For his career Nolasco is 108-103 with a 4.52 ERA.  He will most likely be the Angels #4 starter this season provided he doesn’t implode during Spring Training.

Alex Meyer on the other hand showed flashes of brilliance, but he definitely needs to work on his control.  He pitched for the Angels in September and had some good starts and some not-so good starts.  His fastball topped out at 97 MPH and he was able to strike out a lot of hitters.  In 21.2 innings for the Angels Meyer struck out 24 batters.  However his 17 walks was a little alarming and is something Meyer will need to work on this Spring if he wants to secure the 5th spot in the rotation.

If Meyer does not get the 5th spot in the rotation he will most likely end up in Triple-A Salt Lake as the Angels don’t want him to be a reliever. Meyer will definitely play a major role for the Angels in the future if not this season.

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Daniel Wright is another pitcher the Angels picked up during the season last year who saw action late in the season.  Wright started 5 games for the Angels in 2016 going 1-3 with a 5.40 ERA.  It was Wright’s first big league victory.  However Wright’s numbers were not very impressive and he is a longshot to make the team out of Spring Training.

The Angels could decide to use Wright in the bullpen, but there are plenty of better options than him.  His only chance to be in the majors is if he has a very good Spring. We will see if that happens.

During the off-season Eppler made a deal for minor league pitcher Brook Pounders from the Kansas City Royals.  Pounders pitched in 13 games for the Royals finishing with a 2-1 record and a 9.24 ERA in 12.2 innings striking out13 batters.  His numbers in the minors were much better going 32-33 with a 3.77 ERA striking out 531 batters in 561.1 innings.

Pounders has to prove his potential, but a good Spring could change all that and propel Pounders into majors.

Kirby Yates is another reliever that was taken from the waiver wire was right-handed reliever Kirby Yates.  Yates has pitched 98 games out of the bullpen for the Yankees and Rays over the past three seasons.  Yates has a 3-3 record with a 5.25 ERA with 113 strikeouts in 97.2 innings.  His walk rate is high for the number of innings pitched.

Yates could challenge for a bullpen spot again it will depend on how he does this Spring.

Finally it is worth mentioning two non-roster invitees that have a good chance to make the team out of Spring Training and that is Yusmeiro Petit and Bud Norris.

Petit has been both a starter and a reliever in his eight year big league career and could be very valuable to the 2017 Angels. Petit is 23-32 with a 4.58 ERA, has shown the ability to pitch and get batters out.  In 2014 Petit was a key part of the World Champion Giants team.  Petit went 3-0 with a 1.42 ERA striking 13 batters in 12.2 innings.

If Petit can find the magic from that season he could be a real find for Eppler and the Angels.

The final pitcher worth mentioning is Bud Norris. Norris has had a eight year big league career with five different teams. His career mark is 62-78 with a 4.51 ERA. Norris has 1,012 strikeouts in 1101.2 innings pitched.  In 2014 Norris went 15-8 with a 3.65 ERA with the Baltimore Orioles, but has slumped severely since then going 9-21 with a 5.78 ERA.

If Norris can recapture the magic on 2014 he could take the 5th starter spot, if not he may get a chance to go to the minors and work it out, but that is not guaranteed.

Next: Angels have depth in the field

All in all the Angels have done a good job assembling a group of pitchers that could be helpful if given the opportunity.  We will see how they pan out this Spring.